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South Korean Shipyards Lead New Orders as Shipbuilding Backlog Falls

South Korean shipyards receive largest new orders for third month in a row
(file photo)

By The Maritime Executive 10-06-2020 06:58:22

The South Korean shipbuilding industry is continuing to outpace the Chinese shipyards in the volume of new orders. The tend continued for the third month in a row meaning that the Koreans also reported the largest new order volume during the third quarter of 2020.

Total new orders reached over 600,000 compensated gross tons in September according to calculations published in Business Korea with just over half the tonnage ordered placed at the Korean yards followed the Chinese. Less than five percent of the new order volume in the month went to yards in the remainder of the world.

The Korean shipyards were also first in total new order volume for the third quarter of 2020, accounting for just under half the nearly 3.2 million CGT ordered. Russian shipyards were reported to be second with 27 percent of the total new orders in the quarter, while the Chinese yards were slightly behind with 26 percent of the total new construction order volume in the third quarter.

For the first nine months of 2020, however, the volume of global shipbuilding orders declined by more than half versus 2019 coming in at 9.75 million CGT according to data from the British research firm Clarkson published by the Korean news agency Yonhap. Chinese shipyards accounted for half of the total orders while the Korean yards hold just over a quarter of the total order volume so far in 2020. 

According to the analysis, the Chinese booked orders for 233 ships in 2020 totaling more than 4.8 million CGT while the South Korean yards reported orders for 81 new ships or over 2.6 million CGT. The Russian shipyards were third when measured by tonnage with orders totaling nearly 1 million CGT, but in numbers they were fourth with only 21 new orders. The Japanese shipyards reported a higher number of ships ordered, but with a smaller size, they totaled 850,000 CGT to place them in fourth place in the volume of orders for 2020.

The outlook for the shipbuilding industry, however, remains challenging with the total orderbook falling to the lowest level in nearly 17 years. The backlog has been on a steady decline throughout 2020 falling to just over 68 million CGT. The Chinese yards hold a third of the volume on order, while South Korean yards hold less than 20 percent and Japan are third with a little more than 10 percent of the orderbook.